Opinions, inputs, media, social norms...what do I do? Who do I listen to? What path do I follow? How do I know?
One thing that I learned this week, or should I say was pounded into my head through different experiences I had, was: We ALL have a unique path defined by God that we need to follow.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
No ifs, ands, or buts. We can't all dance to the beat of the same drum or the world wouldn't go round. We can't all have the same personality style (as we learn in DISC training and other personality profiles). We need each person to follow their own path in order to fulfill all the different avenues of life needed in this world.
I was reading more about this in the book Discerning the Voice of God this week in the chapter we were studying. Priscilla Shirer, the author, was emphasizing how we should NOT judge another because the path the Lord has spoken into our life isn't true for another person. And, more importantly, just because it isn't true for them, or their path is not true for us, we should not judge, or hold ourselves superior to anyone else.
Just because we feel an action may be sinful or not in our mind as an acceptable decision or action, doesn't make us better than anyone else. All sins are sins, no one sin is greater than another. Like it or not, we are all sinners. Whether today you gossiped (a sin), judged another person (a sin), or committed adultery (a sin), they are all the equal -- a sin. The good news...we are forgiven if we repent and ask for forgiveness.
As I intermingled with many people with different opinions, beliefs, cultures and actions in my travels these past few months, I know one thing is certain, I am no better than anyone else. My path may be different, I may accomplish something a different way than someone else, but I am no better. I have learned to respect others' decisions. That doesn't mean I have to agree with them or follow their path, it just means I need to remember I am no better than them. As long as the path I choose to walk is aligned with what God is asking of me, I am on the right path and can be proud of my decisions. I'm going to make mistakes, but that is between me and God. I can ask for forgiveness, change my ways and be better at following the path that will lead me to a better life than I could ever imagine.
I am so grateful that I have God to guide me, a book (the Bible) that can help guide me with amazing wisdom, and have the ability and desire to respect the path that God has given others. For example, some people make a choice to have a glass of wine with dinner, but for others that choice isn't one that they can make, or they feel a conviction not to drink.
I thought this statement from the book I mentioned above was profound:
Other people's freedom in this area is not a cue for me to loosen my convictions, nor is my personal prohibition against drinking meant to limit what those around me feel permitted to do without guilt.
As I look at this picture, it reminds me that I can love others no matter who they are, how they dress, what they believe, as that is what God wants me to do. It gives me great pleasure to love...without boundaries.
No matter what I say, what I believe or what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 13:3)
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